Title The Skills Balancing Act in Sub-Saharan Africa
Subtitle Investing in Skills for Productivity, Inclusivity, and Adaptability
Author Omar Arias, David K. Evans, Indhira Santos
ISBN 9781464811494
List price USD 45.00
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 378
Book size 152 x 228 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher The World Bank
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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Despite strong recent economic growth, Sub-Saharan Africa has levels of economic transformation, poverty reduction, and skill development far below those of other regions. Smart investments in developing skills—aligned with the policy goals of productivity growth, inclusion, and adaptability—can help to accelerate the region’s economic transformation in the 21st century.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s growing working-age population presents a major opportunity to increase shared prosperity. Countries in the region have invested heavily in building skills; public expenditure on education increased sevenfold over the past 30 years, and more children are in school today than ever before. Yet, systems for building skills in this population have fallen short, and these shortcomings significantly impede economic prospects. In half of the countries, fewer than two in every three children complete primary school; even fewer reach and complete higher levels of education. Learning outcomes have been persistently poor, leading to substantial gaps in basic cognitive skills—literacy and numeracy—among children, young people, and adults. The literacy rate of the adult population is below 50 percent in many countries; functional literacy and numeracy rates are even lower.

Systemwide change is required to achieve significant progress. Multiple agencies at the central and local levels are involved in skills development strategies, making skills “everyone’s problem but no one’s responsibility.” Policies and reforms need to build capacity for evidence based policies and create incentives to align the behaviors of all stakeholders with the pursuit of national skills development goals.

The Skills Balancing Act in Sub-Saharan Africa: Investing in Skills for Productivity, Inclusivity, and Adaptability lays out evidence to inform the policy choices that countries will make in skill investments. Each chapter addresses a set of specific questions, drawing on original analysis and synthesis of existing studies to explore key areas:

  • How the skills appropriate to each stage of the life cycle are acquired and what market and institutional failures affect skills formation
  • What systems are needed for individuals to access these skills, including family investments, private sector institutions, schools, and other public programs
  • How those systems can be strengthened
  • How the most vulnerable individuals—those who fall outside the standard systems and have missed critical building blocks in skills acquisition—can be supported.

Countries will face trade-offs—often stark ones—that will have distributional impacts and a bearing on their development path. Committed leaders, reform coalitions, and well coordinated policies are essential for taking on the skills balancing act in Sub-Saharan Africa.




About the Authors


Executive Summary • Policy Framework for Skills Investments in Sub-Saharan Africa • Facing the Skills Balancing Act • Focus on Foundational Skills • Invest in the Technical Skills of Youth and Adults • Enact Systemwide Change and Make Skills Building • Everyone’s Business • Conclusions • References

Overview (Omar Arias, David K. Evans, and Indhira Santos) • Summary • Challenges and Opportunities for Skills Building in Sub-Saharan Africa • Policy Framework for Skills Investments in Sub-Saharan Africa • The Skills Balancing Act • Facing the Skills Balancing Act: How Can Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa Improve the Skills of Their Labor Force for Today and Tomorrow? • Conclusions • Note • References

Chapter 1: Skills and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa (Omar Arias) • Introduction • Skills for Africa: Which Skills, When to Develop Them, and for Whom • Skills Wanted: The Demand for Skills in Sub-Saharan Africa Today • Skills and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa • The Progress in Skills Development in Sub-Saharan Africa • Public Spending on Education in Sub-Saharan Africa • Skills Priorities for Sub-Saharan Africa: A Framework and Country Typology • Notes • References

Chapter 2: Developing Universal Foundational Skills in Sub-Saharan Africa (Moussa Pouguinimpo Blimpo, David K. Evans, and Muthoni Ngatia) • Looking Back: The Evolution of Access and Equity in Formal • Skills Development in Sub-Saharan Africa • Looking Forward: The Future of Access and Equity in Formal • Skills Development • Quality: The Need to Deliver Actual Learning • Why Children Are Not Learning • How to Get It Right • The Way Forward • Notes • References

Chapter 3: Building Skills for the School-to-Work Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa (Indhira Santos, Daniel Alonso Soto, and Shobhana Sosale) • Skills Acquisition for the School-to-Work Transition through Technical and Vocational Education and Training • The Landscape of TVET in Sub-Saharan Africa • Policy Challenges in Preemployment TVET • Roadmap for TVET Reform • Notes • References

Chapter 4: Building Skills for Productivity through Higher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (Indhira Santos and Omar Arias) • Introduction • University Education in Sub-Saharan Africa • Improving Equity in Access to Higher Education • Ensuring Value for Money and Improved Efficiency • Achieving Higher Quality and Relevance • Prioritizing Investments and Managing the Expansion of Higher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa • Conclusions • Notes • References

Chapter 5: Addressing Skills Gaps: Continuing and Remedial Education and Training for Adults and Out-of-School Youths in Sub-Saharan Africa (Muthoni Ngatia and Jamele Rigolini) • Introduction • Continuing Education and Training • Addressing Skills Gaps of Poor and Vulnerable Workers: Remedial Education and Training • Training Programs Supporting Self- and Wage Employment • What’s Next? Toward a Roadmap for Effective Continuing and Remedial Education and Training Policies in Africa • Notes • References

About the Authors:

Indhira Santos is a senior economist at the World Bank, where she works on labor markets, skills, and social protection. She was a primary author of the World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work and the World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends. She is currently working in the Africa Region and has also worked in the Europe and Central Asia and South Asia regions, after coming to the World Bank as a Young Professional in 2009. Prior to joining the World Bank, she was a research fellow at Bruegel, a European policy think tank in Brussels, from 2007 to 2009. She has also worked for the Economic Research Center of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) and the Ministry of Finance of the Dominican Republic. She was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard University, where she obtained her PhD in public policy and a master’s in public administration in international development.

David K. Evans is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. Formerly, he was a lead economist in the Chief Economist’s Office for the Africa  Region of the World Bank. He is a coauthor of the World Bank’s World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realize Education’s Promise. He studies education, health, and social protection issues. He has designed and implemented impact evaluations in education, early child development, agriculture, health, and social protection in Brazil, The Gambia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania, and he has managed education projects for the World Bank in Brazil. His recent published research articles include “What Really Works to Improve Learning in Developing Countries? An Analysis of Divergent Systematic Reviews,” “Cash Transfers and Temptation Goods,” and “Cash Transfers and Health: Evidence from Tanzania.” He teaches economic development at the Pardee RAND Graduate School of Public Policy, and he holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University

Omar Arias is manager for global knowledge and innovation and lead economist in the World Bank Education Global Practice. Previously, he was global lead for skills, sector manager and lead economist in the Europe and Central Asia region, sector leader of human development for Chile and the Andean countries, senior economist in the Poverty and Gender Group of the Latin American region, and research economist at the Inter-American Development Bank. He has coauthored various studies, including regional reports on skills in Africa, jobs and pensions in Europe and Central Asia, and labor informality and poverty in Latin America, as well as numerous country studies. He has peer-reviewed publications on various topics, including returns to schooling and skills, labor markets, income mobility, growth, poverty and inequality, human capital accumulation, tax evasion, and applied econometrics. He was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he obtained his master’s degree and doctorate in economics.

Target Audience:

This book will be useful to people interested in labour skills development, youth employment, vocational education and poverty reduction.

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